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Do Trout Bite at Night? A Guide to Fishing in the Dark

Trout do bite at night, and after dark can be the best time of day to catch them, especially bigger fish. This post is all about nighttime fishing for trout, and includes fly fishing tips for catching fish on dark nights.

Do Trout Bite at Night

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Do Trout Bite at Night?

Trout do bite at night, and sometimes this is the best time to catch them, but it depends on the time of year, the moon phase, and local conditions such as water temperature.

In general, trout tend to be more active at night compared to the day, especially in the warmer months when the water temperature in the day is uncomfortable for them.

Although fishing my be more productive at night however, this doesn’t mean you can’t still catch trout during the day. When the water is clear and the sun is bright, it is easier to spot trout, and with a bit of stealth they can still be caught.

All the tips in this post have come from anglers who fish on the River Wandle in South London.

Summary of Advice on Catching Trout at Night

  • Trout have short, intensive feeding spells which often happen in the late afternoon, or a couple of hours after dark. You might find that you wait for a couple of hours and catch nothing, and then suddenly you catch three trout in fifteen minutes!
  • Trout have bad night vision and rely on scent and vibrations to find food at night. For this reason spinners are great lures to use, or live bait with added scent.
  • In the summer it is best to avoid the main part of the day, and fish in short sessions in the evening and after dark.
  • The winter is trout breeding season, and trout normally have short feeding spells after sunset in between breeding activities.
  • Pay attention to the moon phase when fishing at nighttime. The best times for fishing are in the three days leading up to the new moon or full moon, and the three days after.

A Guide to Trout Fishing at Night

Are Trout More Active at Night?

Trout tend to be more active at night time for two reasons. Firstly the water temperature at night time is often optimum for feeding, and secondly they are less likely to be spotted by predators.

Water Temperature

Trout tend to be most active at night during the hottest part of the summer. The water temperature at this time is uncomfortable for them during the day time, so they tend to feed more heavily at night time. This is especially true of brown trout, but also applies to rainbow trout and brook trout.

Trout prefer to feed in temperatures between 34- 67°F / 1-19°C, and night time is often the best time.

Light

Trout do not like to come out in full sunlight, especially in clear water, as this can make them vulnerable to predators. For this reason they are more likely to be caught at night, or the early morning hours when there is less light.

If you are going fishing in the early morning, you should check the cloud cover, and at night check if there is artificial light or street lights nearby. Trout are more likely to bite at night or in locations where they is no bright light.

Larger trout also tend to move into shallower water at night time when they are less likely to be seen by predators, and it is safer for them to hunt for minnows and other smaller fish.

Usually it is big trout that hide during the day and come out at night, so night fishing can be the best way to catch them.

Are Trout More Active at Night?

Colours That Trout See Best at Night

Trout find it difficult to distinguish colours at night, and will see objects as black and white silhouettes. For this reason you should use silver, white or gold lures when fishing in the dark.

For the best results try to use bait which has some kind of reflective coating, like tinsel lures. This will create a shimmery effect and make it easier for the trout to see it in darkness.

Can Brown Trout See in the Dark?

If you are fishing in the River Wandle, you might be wondering if the same recommendations apply to brown trout. The Wandle is famous for its brown trout, and they are one of the most commonly caught fish along with chub, barbel and dace.

Brown trout do tend to have better night vision compared to other trout species, but still find it hard to distinguish colours in the dark. For this reason its recommended you use the same coloured lures as for catching any other type of trout at night: white, silver or gold.

Do Spinners Work at Night for Trout?

Using Spinners at Night for Trout

Spinners are ideal lures for catching trout at night, because they create strong vibrations in the water. Since trout do not have good night vision, you need to use lures that create vibrations that the trout can sense. Spinners are perfect for this since they rotate in the water.

Try to choose silver, white or gold spinners that will be more visible to the trout at night. Panther Martin make good silver spinners which are have convex and concave blades that send out sonic vibrations.

Spinners are a good option if you are fishing for trout in deeper water. They are also a good way to catch bigger trout. One angler on the river Wandle told me he caught a big brown trout after dark using a reflective spinner!

Best Lures to Catch Trout at Night

If you’re fishing at night, the best lures are anything that create a lot of vibration in the water. As mentioned, spinners work well, but if you are fishing in shallow water there are also some good topwater lures. These include:

  • Spooks – the Heddon Rattlin’ Spook Topwater Fishing Lure produces sounds akin to a fleeing baitfish. It also darts around and zig zags in the water just like prey.
  • Poppers – these Minnow Lures produce a wobbling action that helps to attract fish. They are also a shiny silver colour that trout are more likely to see in the dark.
  • Glow in the dark lures – on cloudy nights or a moonless night when there’s not much light hitting the water, glow in the dark lures can help attract the attention of trout.
What Lures to Use for Trout at Night?

Best Bait for Trout Fishing at Night

The best bait for night fishing is live bait, like worms or minnows. Worms and minnows actively move around in the water, and are more likely to be noticed by trout. It also helps to add scent to the bait, since trout have a particularly keen sense of smell. The scent of shrimp or garlic work well.

Minnows

Live minnows are one of the best baits for trout. At night time when trout can’t see as well, they are able to sense the vibrations of small minnows moving in the water. Adding extra scent to the minnows will also help to attract the trout, especially at night when they tend to be less shy about coming into shallower water.

Worms

Trout love worms, so they can be a good bait to use at night. Fishing with live worms however is a bit more complicated as they can fall off your hook if you’re not careful. Try hooking twice through the fattest part of the worm, and again add extra scents to help attract the trout.

Best Bait for Trout Fishing at Night

What Time do Trout Bite the Most?

Trout bite the most at around the time of sunrise or sunset. Anglers on the River Wandle reported the fewest bites in the middle of the day, when the sun was at its brightest, and the middle of the night.

The ideal time to fish for trout is:

  • Sunrise: 2 hours before to 2 hours after sunrise
  • Dusk: 2 hours before sunset to 2 hours after

How Late is Too Late to Fish?

The best time to fish for trout at night is just after sunset until a few hours after it is completely dark. After this time is it probably too late to catch anything.

Your best chance is around the time of sunset. I was told by a number of anglers that the biggest trout they ever caught was when fishing after daylight hours as the sun was setting.

Big trout, especially browns, tend to hide in deep holes on sunny days, and only come out after dark. Fishing in the hours just after sunset might be your best chance at catching one.

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This Post Was About Fishing for Trout at Night

Thank you for reading my article about whether trout bite at night. If you have any tips for fishing in low light conditions, please leave me a comment below. This article was written with the help of a number of trout anglers on the river Wandle in South London, who have experience with nighttime trout fishing.